When it comes to style, no two closets are ever identical.
In an effort to explain the elusive conundrum of style, The Stylish YouTube channel has created eccentric and diverse shows that push the boundaries of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Started by television production company Magical Elves, known best for their shows “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” The Stylish has adapted the storytelling aspects of television into their 5-minute YouTube videos.
From the sequins of Jonny Makeover to the baseball hat and cardigan of Joseph Birdsong, The Stylish channel, launched in April, has created a hub for fashion, lifestyle and beauty content through the ever-growing number of shows. With previous experience working in television for 12 years, Executive Producer Debbie Levin has found the change of mediums both challenging and rewarding. With YouTube, Levin has discovered a creative freedom made possible by social media that is still impossible for television. Excited for the possibility of future collaborations and growth, Levin shares with NMR the channel’s upcoming projects and her fascination with YouTube’s ability to make people’s dreams come true.
There are so many diverse shows on your YouTube channel. How do you create this diversity but still keep each show connected under one umbrella?
When I came on board [in July] I think they were more focused on fashion, and I wanted to kind of expand on the definition of style and the stylish. We have geek chic, we have a lot of drag queen programming and gay and lesbian friendly programming, because I think a lot of different people can be considered stylish. The fun part with YouTube is getting to experiment a lot. You know pretty quickly if something hits or not, so you know if something hits, great, you run with it, and if something doesn’t, you go back to the drawing board and figure something else out. One of the things I always keep in mind is that I want to experiment while still staying within the Magical Elves [storytelling].
That makes a lot of sense, and I think that is a very unique element to your channel because it feels like these shows are something you would watch on TV because of their driven plots.
We work very hard on that. It’s not your typical YouTube programming, and I think we are on the cusp of this new emergence of narrative content and longer form content on YouTube. It’s almost like mini television shows within the attention span of the viewer which still is usually 5 minutes or less.
You’ve worked in television and now social media — do you see social media being able to go where television isn’t able to anymore?
I’ve worked here since July, and I’ve learned a lot in a very short time. I think one of the things that is really interesting about social media and YouTube is the amount of eyeballs that these videos get, you know? Some of these videos have upward of a billion views, and I don’t know if even the most popular television shows ever get that many eyeballs on them.
You were talking before about how these shows are really friendly towards the LGBT community. Was that a goal from the beginning, to highlight this community that doesn’t have the same exposure and opportunities in mainstream media?
I don’t know if it was a goal per se, but I think in my personal opinion, if we’re going to represent style and fashion then we should represent all aspects of style and fashion. Our first episode of “Transfashionable” went so well that it is something I’m expanding on.
What are some of the things that you’re working on now, and what are the future projects for the channel?
Well, one of the things I think is fascinating on YouTube and doesn’t happen as much in television is when you’re on a show, you can’t really jump around to different networks and different shows that much. Whereas on YouTube, it’s very much a playground in the sense that we all can and should play together. What I am working on is collaborating with a lot of other YouTube channels. One of the ideas that I have is a profile series called “In Focus.” It’s a one-off on various people in the style, beauty and fashion world, and I had this idea — I was researching all of these other YouTube personalities, and I’m looking at these young girls and boys and women, and it’s fascinating these businesses that they’re creating. When I call to collaborate with some of these YouTube sensations it’s like you have to reach their managers and agents and lawyers and these are people in their early 20s! Just in my research I was blown away at how these people teach tutorials or make little videos just somewhere in their home, and they’ve made a thriving business from it.
This new series highlights how they did it and goes into this world of these kids that turned on their webcam one day and shot how to put on eyeshadow or just some funny commentary, and now this is their full time job. This new series really dives into these people and who created and made their dreams come true because of YouTube.